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Political representation for social justice in nursing: Lessons learned from participant research with destitute asylum seekers in the UK

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Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Inquiry
Early online date1 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2016

Abstract

The concept of social justice is making a revival in nursing scholarship, in part in response to widening health inequalities and inequities in high-income countries. In particular, critical nurse scholars have sought to develop participatory research methods using peer researchers to represent the ‘voice’ of people who are living in marginalized spaces in society. The aim of this paper is to report on the experiences of nurse and peer researchers as part of a project to explore the experiences of people who find themselves destitute following the asylum process in the UK. In seeking to explore social injustice, three challenges are identified: lack of a robust political theory, institutional/professional constraints and an absence of skills to engage with the politics of social (in)justice. Each challenge is presented, opposing voices outlined and some possible solutions are suggested. The work of political theorist Nancy Fraser is used as a conceptual framework, in particular her focus on mis/framing and political representation for social justice. In addition, it is suggested that social justice needs to be further embedded in nursing policy and curriculum. Finally, nurses are encouraged to develop practical political skills to engage with both politics and the media in a neoliberal globalizing world.

    Research areas

  • social justice, politics, globalisation, marginalisation, nursing theory

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